Surfactant-induced migration of a spherical drop in Stokes flow

James A. Hanna*, Petia M. Vlahovska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In Stokes flows, symmetry considerations dictate that a neutrally buoyant spherical particle will not migrate laterally with respect to the local flow direction. We show that a loss of symmetry due to flow-induced surfactant redistribution leads to cross-stream drift of a spherical drop in Poiseuille flow. We derive analytical expressions for the migration velocity in the limit of small nonuniformities in the surfactant distribution, corresponding to weak-flow conditions or a high-viscosity drop. The analysis predicts migration toward the flow centerline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number001001PHF
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Surfactant-induced migration of a spherical drop in Stokes flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this